I have come across this answer which begins with "This is not an answer". [remark: the post has now been edited and the phrasing has been changed]

The answer with pictures is posted as an answer because we can't post a comment with a picture. So now the question is should we leave the post and other future similar posts there.

If so, for how long and do we wait for an event to happen such as when the comment has been fully addressed. If we wait for the event that comment has been addressed, how do we agree on whether that event has occured.

Pro: Leaving the post there leaves a copy of evidence that someone indeed made such a comment / clarification.

Cons: Are we willing to accept more such posts in the future? Whenever someone want to post a picture as comment, it is posted as the answer.

Complication for this particular case. I have no idea how did this happen, but a non-answer received a bounty. Would your answer be different for this particular case?

Additional remark: What you can do is flag the answer to add it to a review queue, upvote, downvote, discuss, ignore, or delete. Do what you think is the right thing to do. Also, if you choose to upvote/ downvote, do consider other answers posted there as well, we do want the best answer to get the most votes.

  • $\begingroup$ Glad that you brought this up in meta.This case is IMHO somewhat interesting for the purposes of discussing/forming/refining a policy. $\endgroup$ Sep 22, 2017 at 5:57
  • $\begingroup$ And you can flag it as "not an answer", or use any other flag that places the post into a review queue. What seems to have happened is that your NAA-flag came more or less simultaneously with a free form moderator only flag from another user. That other flag demanded that moderators should "unilaterally" delete the answer, because they thought that its existence interferes with bounty that was open yesterday. What may have happened is that those two flags were handled with a single moderator click leading to both flags getting declined with the same message. $\endgroup$ Sep 22, 2017 at 6:18
  • $\begingroup$ But, you have earned the privilege to vote to delete posts. If you think the answer should be deleted, you should use that privilege rather than ask for a moderator to do your bidding. You can (may be should ?) both vote to delete it, and flag it as not an answer to rally support from other users who also have this privilege. A free form flag has the effect of forcing a moderator's hand, and we are reluctant to act unless rules and/or policies are violated. $\endgroup$ Sep 22, 2017 at 6:23
  • $\begingroup$ Ah, I see. I can only exercise the vote to delete right after it receives enough downvotes I think. We shall hear the community's opinion about what to do for future similar posts. Let's hope we can get a consensus. $\endgroup$ Sep 22, 2017 at 6:47
  • $\begingroup$ Ah, I forgot about the need to get the net vote negative first. So you first need to downvote. $\endgroup$ Sep 22, 2017 at 9:47
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    $\begingroup$ It really doesn't seem right that we have to band together an entourage on meta to downvote something first, so that we know it's low quality so that we can delete it. $\endgroup$
    – djechlin
    Sep 22, 2017 at 13:04
  • $\begingroup$ In general, just flag a post and add it to the review queue to let the community decides. Unfortunately, I have failed to do so. $\endgroup$ Sep 22, 2017 at 15:51
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    $\begingroup$ Just to clarify, by saying that it's not possible to post a picture in a comment you mean that picture is indeed displayed - as opposed to something like this: "In the example, after applying rule 10, one gets the graph: i.stack.imgur.com/lQDLy.jpg But rule 8 says that you can do this: i.stack.imgur.com/1qwkC.jpg " Related: Is it possible to insert an image in comments? if the answer is “yes”, then how? and Will images included in a comment remain available $\endgroup$ Sep 22, 2017 at 17:43
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for showing me the related link. I think figures can indeed be communicated via comment via a link then. The reason why the post was posted as an answer was due to "This is not an answer, but you cannot paste images in comments." I guess the answerer wanted to display the post at the comment. I wonder if we can make the policy of if anyone want to make a comment that include a figure, they should communicate it via a link to an image rather than posting it as an answer. Also, I wonder if we should restrict the image to be at imgur site? $\endgroup$ Sep 22, 2017 at 18:11

1 Answer 1


Just replace the phrase "This is not an answer" with "This may be a useful hint" or "Here is my research on this problem." Those things we accept as answers when they have substantive, on-topic math in them. Short hints or requests for clarification are usually just comments. (And of course, edit is better than delete.)

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for sharing your thought. Any opinion about future posts, what should we do with posts that ask for clarification and a figure is needed in the comment? Camouflage a clarification as a "useful hint" or "here is my research on the problem" wouldn't be a sustainable solution isn't it? it would be awesome if we can post picture in the comment. until we have that feature, it is unclear to me what is the right procedure. $\endgroup$ Sep 22, 2017 at 16:14
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    $\begingroup$ @SiongThyeGoh you would want to upload the picture somewhere else (there are dozens of services) and link it in the comment. I wouldn't count on pictures in comments being prioritized. $\endgroup$
    – djechlin
    Sep 22, 2017 at 21:22
  • $\begingroup$ I see. I think that's a good suggestion. In the event that someone doesn't do that in the future, I think we should close the answer and move it to the comment. $\endgroup$ Sep 23, 2017 at 17:03

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